It feels a lifetime ago that we first discussed with our friends at Digitalab the possibility of a York Place Masterclass. The subject of some form of workshop had, of course, been broached many times before over the years both in our own late-night discussions (why is it the best talks always seem to start around midnight?) and, once or twice, in somewhat humbling discussions with our peers, only to invariably be filed gently away into the dusty, moth-bitten folder labelled “maybe one day”.
Over the years we’ve had many thoughts and “eureka moments” both big and small about our photography but it’s really in the last couple of years that we’ve come to realise that these were never really individual ideas, they were all essential cogs in the wheel of a machine; a wider concept that hadn’t until now made itself known to us. It was perhaps the concentrated reflection and conversation that went into creating this year’s ‘best-of’ that really brought it home to us and showed us the importance of each step and mis-step along the journey to finding true clarity in understanding our own style and the type of images we want to create.
With that clarity came a desire to share the journey and so, last week, that’s just what we did with the first ever York Place Masterclass “Documentary With Bite”. It was a fascinating experience for us and hopefully for all our attendees too (we’ll leave it to them to tell you a little bit about it below!) and we’d like to thank our amazing partners Digitalab for making the whole day possible, Fujifilm for their amazing sponsorship, not to mention John from Fuji who brought a whole host of amazing cameras and lenses for our delegates to play with! Thanks also to David from Icon Publications for coming along to cover the event, our own Matt from York Place Films who was on hand to talk slideshows and filming and to every single one of our amazing attendees who travelled from far and wide and were so incredibly attentive and enthusiastic and just an absolute pleasure to be around! Putting this masterclass together was a real eye-opener for us, we hope you all got as much out of it as we have tried to put in.
Here are a few thoughts from our lovely delegates on a day of learning, making new friends and finding just a little more bite as Documentary wedding photographers.
“I was several years into the wedding photography business when I booked a seat at Dom and Liam’s Masterclass. I guess you could say I felt a bit stuck, doing the same things and safe shots over and over again. So when I discovered their work, it was a huge inspiration – and, long story short, so was their workshop. Their work impresses with on point storytelling and shows the well trained eye of talented street photographers and a unique sense of humour (which is, let’s face it, pretty rare in wedding photography). In their workshop, Dom and Liam shared their development as documentary photographers with us, as well as their photography techniques and their elaborate and deep work ethics and mindsets. It was a workshop not about ego, but about documenting truth, the art of spontaneity and the beauty of real moments and real people, filled with hands-on advice for any questions we might have had. Last but not least: Dom and Liam are not only one of the most innovative and talented wedding journalists out there, they are also truly lovely souls. Attending their workshop gave me the kick in the ass I needed and a fresh and unique perspective on a very traditional photography genre. Thinking about going to their workshop? Just have a look at their work, guys. Yep. Go.”
– Juliana Socher
“An amazing day spent with the very friendly Dom & Liam, exploring their unique style/approach and it’s application to weddings. To sum up the day: practical, thought provoking, down to earth & inspirational.” – Sara Kirkham
“I’ve been a big fan of Dom and Liam’s work since I first started in the industry. In my mind when it comes to creative compositions capturing moments and using available light there is no one better. Learning their ethos and their thought process behind some of their most iconic images was fascinating. They were completely open and honest with us, not holding anything back. After running through their approach we jumped into the technical and a critique of our own work which was golden as we left with some really solid steps of how we could take our documentary work to the next level. And it I mention it was a barrel of loves and got to meet loads of awesome photographers? I had a wedding the day after the workshop and I lost count of the times I heard Liam’s voice in my head going “Birds!” and “Face Tumour” (you’ll have to attend their workshop to appreciate these) which goes to show the positive impact they’re already having on how I work.” – Matt Badenoch
second scrap that, mili-second I saw that the awesome Digitalab were hosting a workshop with the completely awesome York Place Studios, I sent an email starting with HELL YES! I could not wait to literally dive head first into the sea of knowledge that these guys would pour out. And pour out it did. Dom and Liam were so open, so honest, and so bloody frank that you could not come away from the day without feeling inspired, mesmerised, and honestly – a bit shaken up. I’m literally looking at the world a bit different now. Looking to find the comedy, the moment, the light, the strangeness that is all around and thinking differently about I can capture all of that in JUST ONE FRAME. And if that wasn’t enough, bloody hell – there were Krispy Kreme donuts, a wicked buffet lunch (I love my food), a Fuji man on hand to answer all our techno questions, the lovely Matt to talk moving pictures and the awesome Digitalab team to show off their awesome lab. All in one day. Bonkers! Oh – and we enjoyed a lovely meal and drinkies after because the entire team were just so ace, we didn’t want to go home! So – if you’re thinking of attending a workshop this year and you’re remotely interested in documentary photography (REAL documentary photography) – then you should totally book this one. You can tell how amazing it was because I literally used the word ‘literally’ a hundred times in this review. Amazeballs. Book now!” – Claire Batey
“I recently attended York Place Masterclass: Documentary With Bite and loved it! This was my first workshop as I’m very new to the wedding photography scene. Dom & Liam were able to cater for my needs and all the questions I had. They were very attentive and although there were other people in attendance it felt very much a bespoke and personal experience. The content was excellent, delivered professionally, with real character and a real good laugh. I walked away not only inspired and educated but also like I’d got to know them personally – thanks YPS.” – Kevin Barrett
“The communication was fantastic, the warm welcome was homely, the knowledge on display was immense yet the delivery was with sincerity and clarity which was pure and honest without ego, I loved it ….. Especially as we had cakes and coffee on tap too!I was sat there listening, and suddenly the penny dropped, the pieces are starting to connect, and I honestly urge someone who LOVES documentary wedding photography to get on this next time. I have since put into practice many things I had learned and all of a sudden I am pushing myself to create more from using less in the images, keeping it pure and keeping images as close to my heart as possible without opting for the obvious, looking to put more of my personality into the pictures too. It’s hard to describe what going on this workshop means to me – 2017 and beyond I have a lot to feel inspired about. Thanks so much to everyone at the YPS masterclass it couldn’t have been any better! Thanks so much for your time, honesty and genuine warmth. Peace and Love” – Ed Brown & Victoria Boam
“If I had to sum up the masterclass in one sentence, I would say “It was the smack in face I needed”.
This might sound odd, but I have gained the most from the workshop during the few days afterwards. It wasn’t until I stepped back, digested the information, and thought about the key messages for my work, that I understood the difference between good, bad, and amazing photographs. I took a lot away with me, and it all starts with the ability to critique a photograph. Having the ability to see my mistakes, is the catalyst to improve and grow as a photographer. If you’re wanting to improve your documentary wedding photography, this masterclass is the kick up the ass you need!” – Steve Chaplin